Nemo Aurora 2P ($280)

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5 lb. 7 oz.

88 x 52 in.

2P, 3P

Massive interior space and a premium feature set.

Not as roomy or weather-worthy as the Half Dome SL above.

Nemo produces some of the most high-quality backpacking tents on the market, so we were excited to see the Aurora budget-friendly version. The Aurora is a modern entry-level tent that offers plenty of living space. It features prebent poles, four near-vertical walls, hubs at the head and foot, and a central ridge pole. The symmetrical design of the Aurora and Nemo’s intuitive hardware make it easy to set up. You also get snaps for Nemo’s Pawprint liner and light-diffusing pockets. The Aurora is a great option for backpackers, whether they are casual or serious about saving money.

The Aurora costs $280 with an included footprint, which is a bit more than the average budget. The Aurora is more expensive than the Half Dome, but you save $49 and get more durable materials (68D and 40D for the floors). However, the REI is more light and spacious than the Half Dome with its additional 4 inches of length and width. The REI also has the best wind protection. Because of its upright shape, the Nemo was more susceptible to bowing in strong winds on trips in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. The Half Dome is a good choice for those who are more concerned about their weight. However, the Aurora is a sturdy and cost-effective option. You can also upgrade to the   (88×72 in.). For $350